Field Note #98. On "Via Negativa" or "Negotiation via Voss + Camp"

(1) Chris Voss, Tahl Raz, Never Split the Difference (2016)
(2) Jim Camp, Start with No (2002)

The Context: Via Negativa

I aim to be a bomb sniffing dog when it comes to information gathering in the investing context.

Given my obsession with complexity (e.g., Field Note 50: On Cynefin and Complexity), risk (of ruin) (e.g., Field Note 62: On Risk of Ruin Visualized), uncertainty (e.g., Field Note 16: On Knightian Risk , Uncertainty, Profit), and chance (e.g., Field Note 96: On "Chance"), information gathering has become much more about spotting fatal errors than it is about building a biased case of expected return replete with Gaussian assumptions that pay no respect to turbulence (see Field Note 58: Mandelbrot's 10 Heresies of Finance).  

The best way to execute this type of detective work in markets (or otherwise) is to get out of one's own way, establish an empathetic channel, and allow the information to flow.

Sounds whimsical, but it's brutally pragmatic.

The Main Idea.

Whether talking to company management, startup teams, or even my own wife (🤫) and kids (🙃), some of the tactics offered by Chris Voss regarding persuasion & negotiation are useful.

However, the enduring impression of this book for me had less to do with tactics, phrases, and clever rejoinders than it did about the approach to communicative interaction (esp. in a business or investing context):

"Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you." (p. 94-95, emphasis in original).  

Properly, it's also not "not about you."

The Details.

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